Press Releases : Thailand’s participation at the 9th Bali Democracy Forum
On 8 December 2016, Mr. Vitavas Srivihok, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs led the Thai delegation to attend the 9th Bali Democracy Forum (BDF) under the theme ‘Democracy, Religion, Pluralism”, which was held in Bali, Indonesia. Delegates from 94 countries in the Asia-Pacific region as well as Europe, America, and Africa were represented at the Forum, including at ministerial and ambassador levels.
Mr. Vitavas Srivihok reaffirmed that Thailand remained fully committed to democratic values, based on good governance, accountability, rule of law, and human rights. He also updated the meeting of the draft Constitution which recently passed the referendum in August 2016, which embraces pluralism by giving protection to persons from discrimination on the grounds of difference in races, languages, religious beliefs, among others, as well as guaranteeing freedom of expression as included in the past constitutions. Thailand has also been a continued supporter of initiatives and organizer of activities related to interfaith dialogue and anti-discrimination, both at regional and multilateral levels.
H.E. Joko Widodo, the President of the Republic of Indonesia, gave an opening statement at the 9th BDF reaffirming that Indonesia as one of the democratic countries will continue to promote diversity in races, languages, and religions while maintaining peace in the country, which is beneficial to the region and beyond. Mr. Kofi Annan, former United Nations Secretary General, reiterated in his keynote address the importance of the international community’s cooperation to address the on-going challenges arising from identity politics, which has undermined pluralism and peace, and led to violence, instability, and extremism. In addition, Mr. Surin Pitsuwan, former Secretary General of ASEAN also stressed the need for a genuine dialogue among people from different faiths and that religious teachers should endeavor to promote peaceful coexistence and understanding of others.
The BDF was initiated back in 2008 by Professor Dr. H. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the former President of the Republic of Indonesia, with an aim to promote cooperation and dialogue in order to strengthen the political and democratic development in the region. The BDF discussion is based on openness, constructive debate, and sharing of experiences.